The Carpenters’ Coalmen
Hell’s Half Acre


Taking a break from metal today – though metalheads might dig A Whisper in the Noise because it’s dark, dark, dark. AWITN recently played here in Berlin with Harvestman, the solo project of Neurosis’ Steve Von Till, and its brand of gothic Americana isn’t too far from, say, Across Tundras. Nick Cave, Gillian Welch, and Clogs might also haunt the same sonic universe. These are coarse references, but I know the dark side when I hear it.

A Whisper in the Noise is West Thordson, who is a genius. He takes a music store’s worth of instruments – piano, guitar, strings, drums, french horn, minimal electronics – and orchestrates them into intimate, gorgeous masterpieces. Again, “dark” – not monochromatic, but subtle, fleeting, shadowy. When I am old and have lost everyone, I hope I’ll have these sounds to wrap around me. When you age, you revert to childhood – this is the ideal soundtrack for burrowing under a blanket. Darkness, warmth, possibilities.

(Trivia: Thordson evidently lives and makes music in the abandoned Minnesota elementary school he attended as a child.)

AWITN’s self-titled album is amazing in its own right, and I may also write it up someday. A new album, A New Dawn, recorded by Steve Albini, comes out this autumn – don’t miss it. In the meantime, you can find As The Bluebird Sings at Indie Rhythm.